“But then, trust is often a misplaced emotion. Like Love.”Maha, It All Began in Monte Carlo page 335
Author: Elizabeth Adler
Welcome back to the blog, or welcome to the blog if you are new! Today I have a book review for you guys that I debated on doing. I was not a fan of the book at all. I wasn’t sure if I should even post about it because I wasn’t sure if I could write the review without ripping the book to shreds. But here I am, and we are going to see what I can do. It is 11:50pm and I have a cotton candy energy drink, so let’s do this.
Sunny Alvarez and Mac Reilly always seem to find trouble in the south of France. This time, all the trouble began in Monte Carlo. Sunny’s relationship with Mac is in jeopardy and Monte Carlo beckons. Soon Sunny is pulled into a web of intrigue involving a series of robberies of high-end jewelry stores. Then there’s her wanna-be-new-friend, who turns out to be a sociopath, involved in the sale of sex and in blackmail. Plus there’s Sunny’s old friend, movie star Allie Ray, who owns a vineyard in France and who comes to help sort Sunny out, while at the same time sorting out the life and appearance of her old friend, Pru Holster, with a makeover that not only changes her dowdy overweight appearance, but changes Pru into an amateur detective. If Sunny doesn’t untangle this plot, she might end up an unwitting accomplice to theft, blackmail and even murder. When Mac shows up, he’s ready to do anything to get Sunny back, not the least of which is to solve the crimes and save her life.
Alrighty where to begin. I guess first I should start by saying that I gave this book two stars even though I hated it. There was potential for the book and I really wanted to enjoy it. I think it could have been at the very least a three star read for me had some actual editing to the plot lines been done. I think that I am going to focus more of the review on what I did like, but obviously we will talk about what I didn’t like. We use a method of training at my job which we call Glows and Grows. Where you talk about the good things someone is doing first, and then talk about where they can improve. I want to use that method here, and then I will sandwich some good stuff at the end as well.
First and foremost the book did a good job picking plots that would be interesting. The book is about, as you saw in the goodreads summary, a girl whose relationship is in jeopardy that runs off and ends up finding herself wrapped up in jewelry robberies and other people’s drama. There are three main plots in this book; robberies, murder, and blackmail. All of those sounds great together, but only two of the plots actually work to move the book forward. I think Adler was on the right track with robberies and murders. If those had just been expanded upon instead of cut short for the blackmail plot I think the book would have been worlds better. I truly think that Adler just had too many ideas for this book. The plot for the blackmail itself was interesting, and had it been its own book I would have read it and enjoyed it. As well as I would have enjoyed this book if it has been just robberies and murders.
Now onto the things I didn’t love about the book, and there were a lot. So buckle up because this is going to be a roller coaster of a ride.
Blackmail. That is something we need to talk about. That plot did not relate to the rest of the book at all. The ONLY way it was even sort of related was because the blackmail happened to someone that Sunny seemed close with and Sunny tried to be friends with they psychopath that does it. Other than that it has ZERO to do with the rest of the story. It is not like the blackmail is happening because of the robberies or murders. Hell, the lady doing the blackmailing isn’t even related to either of those things (and trust me I would have been slightly better with this being included in the book had she been). The other problem with this story line was that it was overly sexual for a young adult book. I remember buying this YEARS ago because I liked the cover, it sounded interesting, and it was in the young adult section. Now I know that some new adult books that are meant for 20 somethings get put in young adult because the new adult genre really is kind of DOA. But to sell this book as YA with the sexual themes that were in it was a no go. If I was a parent and I saw my kid reading this book and saw that I would have been livid. It talks about sex clubs for god sake. I am 24 and even I don’t want to read about that. If that is what you do then good for you, but it ain’t for me. And it ain’t for kids or teens.
I also got pretty angry with the way that the characters thought about and acted towards Pru. “Pru looked like hell: overweight, unmade-up, and miserable. For a guilty minute she couldn’t blame the husband for trading Pru in for someone who in face, Pru herself said, looked the way she had looked not so many years ago.” I get that this book was written 10 years ago but I do not know when it has even been okay to think that someone cheating on someone else is justified because of the way that the person looks. Another section that got me, and I marked a lot, was when Allie’s husband was talking to Mac about where Allie and Sunny were and he said this about Pru: “plus Allie’s taking along another friend, from her high school days, who is also in despair and who, in fact, looks like a case for Extreme Makeover”. Take that as you will but this is pretty normal throughout the book. The book also pushed the message that being skinny is the way to be beautiful. No really, there is a line in the book that says “small is beautiful she reminded herself”. Here is what I wrote down word for word about this when I read it: why does the author feel like this has to be the message? I know it was published in 2010 but seriously…to be fair I am a plus size lady and I work with plus size ladies everyday in my job so I might be slightly more sensitive to this than the normal person. I just feel like that is the wrong message to push in any book, but especially in a book written for young girls.
The other major issue I had with this book is that you do not start getting to the point of the book until like 80 pages from the end. Im sorry but over 200 pages of useless bullshit was unnecessary in this case. Had the blackmail bits been chopped out the book probably would have been about 40 pages shorter and I wouldn’t have felt like it was such a complete waste of my time to read. There was absolutely no reason for this book to be over 250 pages, 300 if I am being nice. Also had all the bullshit been cut from the book the two good plots could have been expanded upon. I would have much rather read 300 pages about a jewelry robbery than what I read about this. And you thought you were getting a whole book about a jewelry robbery because that is what the book description says you are getting.
The only other decent thing I can say about the book is that throughout it there were a few cute moments with Mac and Sunny that I enjoyed. My favorite line from the book was “Strong men don’t cry.” “Oh yes they do when they find out the love of their life is still alive, that she has not been murdered and her body thrown by the wayside, that I’m here with her and I’ll never let her out of my sight again…” That was a sweet line, but sweet lines and decent plot ideas unfortunatly can not make up for shitty execution and plots that don’t even matter to the story.
That is it. There is my review. Honestly I can not recommend this book to anyone. The fact that is has over 3 stars on goodreads shocks me. If you do read this just be prepared for what you are in for. Clearly there are some people that liked it, and that is okay. Just not the book for me. And if you have similar tastes to mine you probably won’t like it either.
All links in this post are Amazon affiliate links, I earn a small commision from each sale using that link which I use to keep this blog running. Using the link costs you no extra money, it is the same price as if you purchased the book without the link.